Gerrard: I left Liverpool because Brendan Rodgers dropped me vs. Real Madrid

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Since announcing his plans to leave Liverpool and join the LA Galaxy this summer, Steven Gerrard has been the consummate professional and loyalist to the only club he’s ever known (so far).

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In every interview Gerrard has given since Jan. 7, the Liverpool legend has said all the right things. “It’s time for a new challenge for me … This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make … I will always love Liverpool,” and so on and so forth.

Rumors have persisted, though, that Gerrard’s decision to leave Liverpool was helped and hurried along by another man behind the scenes at Anfield: Brendan Rodgers. Gerrard has taken the high road and chosen not to throw Rodgers under the bus in order to preserve his legacy in the eyes of Reds fans.

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Until now. Gerrard recently spoke to a freshly retired Rio Ferdinand, who’s now working for BT Sport in the UK, for a feature called “Rio Meets Gerrard,” in which the latter reveals the greatest driving force in his decision to uproot his entire life and head for Southern California (entire video below). In the end, it was this past season’s trip to the Santiago Bernabeu to face Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League that gave Gerrard the clarity he was then seeking.

Gerrard, on Rodgers’ role in his decision to leave LFC:

“This was round about the time when I was doing a lot of thinking about what’s next for me.

“I’d had a couple of initial chats with Brendan saying to me ‘I’m going to start managing your games and I have to look after you and I want you to be fresh and I don’t want you to be playing three games in a week because you may be tired.’

“But this situation was a bit unique because it was Real Madrid and I wanted to play. When I was told I wasn’t playing for the sake of the team and the squad and my relationship with Brendan, I took it and I accepted it.

“It sort of pushed me more towards making the decision to move on and try something different.”